Senior Democratic lawmakers called on Wednesday for further investigation into a revelation that in 2016 Donald Trump's then-presidential election campaign chairman gave polling data to a man USA prosecutors have linked to Russian intelligence. Trump did not elaborate and turned to another reporter with a question on a different topic.
Asked on Thursday about the allegation against Manafort - which was meant to be hidden from the public within a court filing from the former campaign chief's lawyers - Trump said he "didn't know anything about it".
In September, he agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller to avoid another trial in Washington federal court. This fact was revealed this week when Manafort's lawyers filed court documents that were improperly redacted.
The defense lawyers said Manafort suffers from depression and anxiety, has had little contact with his family and, on days when he met with investigators, was awakened before dawn to have hourslong interviews with little time to prepare for the questioning.
Akhmetov is one of the richest men in Ukraine and bankrolled the Party of Regions, a Ukrainian political party aligned with Moscow that Manafort worked to bolster. Prosecutors say Manafort acknowledged the meeting only after being told that they were in the same city on the same day.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. Russian Federation and Ukraine have been locked in a conflict since 2014 over Russia's annexation of Crimea.
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He referred Reuters to Schiff's statement that lawmakers on the committee "need to find out" about Manafort's interaction with Kilimnik on polling data.
Manafort earned millions from his Ukrainian political work over several years.
But that plea deal fell apart after prosecutors accused him of lying.
A statement to CNN on behalf of Akmetov said: "Mr. Akhmetov never requested nor received any polling data or any other information about the 2016 USA elections from Paul Manafort or Konstantin Kilimnik".
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has been circling Lyovochkin and Akhmetov's dealings with Manafort for a while, as they were both key, generous backers of Manafort's Ukrainian lobbying work, prosecutors said at Manafort's financial fraud trial last summer. The lawyers say they don't want a separate hearing before a judge on the lying allegations but will address them instead during the sentencing process.